”Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.” – Henry Ford
“Many hands make light work.”
“Individually, we are one drop; together, we are an ocean.”
“TEAM: Together Everyone Achieves More.”
Whatever teamwork phrase or quote resonates most with you, deep down, we all know it to be true: We get more done when we work together. It’s true in nearly all aspects of life, and it was especially true this past week as Laramie County residents worked together to deal with nearly 31 inches of snow and the resulting deeper drifts.
So why do we so often choose to work in silos, failing to reach out and connect with those who could help us achieve our goals? Is it stubbornness? Is it selfishness and an ego-driven need to collect the glory for ourselves when a task is completed?
Is it a fear of losing control of an idea or objective by adding new thoughts and opinions to the mix? Whatever it is, we need to get past it and realize we are much more likely to be successful when we collaborate than when we go it alone.
Several recent examples in our community include:
Tourism master plan – Members of Laramie County’s four economic development agencies are working together on a new tourism master plan. Visit Cheyenne, the county’s convention and visitors bureau, has teamed up with the Cheyenne Downtown Development Authority, the Greater Cheyenne Chamber of Commerce and Cheyenne LEADS to create the new plan, which is due to be finalized by the first week in June.
Led by former Visit Cheyenne CEO Darren Rudloff, the effort is designed to set priorities for the next 10 years and beyond, while also taking into account other plans that already exist, such as the Reed Avenue Corridor master plan, and the Belvoir Ranch and Big Hole master plan.
Such a plan “will help keep moving us forward, all under that tourism umbrella,” according to current Visit Cheyenne CEO Dominic Bravo, who added, “This isn’t one of those things where the plan just sits on a shelf.”
That’s great to hear. But what’s even better about this teamwork example is it’s further proof that four agencies that have overlapped responsibilities and been accused of failing to stay in their lane in the past are cooperating in a way that is likely to lead to greater long-term success for the entire area.
Nonprofits pooling their resources – A few weeks ago, we praised Laramie County nonprofits for setting aside their personal need for funds during the ongoing pandemic and referring county commissioners to others in need.
That was soon followed by the announcement that Habitat for Humanity of Laramie County, Family Promise of Cheyenne, Safehouse Services and the Unaccompanied Students Initiative have created the new Fresh Start Fund. Donations to the fund will be used to help people transitioning out of homelessness or escaping domestic violence to buy furniture and home items they need when they have secured new housing. Many of these items will come from the newly expanded Habitat ReStore, now located at 715 E. 15th St. in Cheyenne.
To donate to the Fresh Start Fund, go online to www.cheyennehabitat.org/freshstartfund or contact Habitat for Humanity of Laramie County at 307-637-8067. And be sure to tell them how much you love to see these groups all working together in this way.
Fallout from record snow – Of course, there’s no greater example of the benefits of teamwork than the response to last weekend’s record-breaking snowstorm and blizzard.
Much of the praise has rightly gone to the snowmobile owners, rural firefighters and other volunteers who took people to and from work at the local hospital, fire department, 911 dispatch center and county jail. But behind the scenes, working countless hours to help coordinate this volunteer effort, was Jeanine West, Laramie County’s Emergency Management director, and her small team. Without their work, Black Hills Energy workers would have struggled to get to places where power was out, and people could have died because surgeons weren’t at the hospital, where they were urgently needed.
We should also talk about the coordination that has been required to clear city, county and state roadways. The full-time public works employees in Cheyenne, Laramie County and the Wyoming Department of Transportation done an amazing job in a short amount of time. And thanks to Mayor Patrick Collins and other city staffers working the phones hard in the aftermath of the storm, private contractors from throughout the area have come in and helped with extra front-end loaders, dump trucks and other equipment and staff.
These are just a few examples we’ve seen recently of the benefits that come from people working together for the greater good.
We know many Laramie County residents don’t need this kind of reminder – it’s just a part of who they are. But even if some of us do need this kind of reawakening from time to time, it’s great to see the results generated by a spirit of community and cooperation.
We look forward to reaping the fruits of these examples and many others for years to come.